Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Longevity in poker(w/ pics of a balla house..mine)

Been thinking of writing about this subject for awhile. I may not be one of the foremost experts in certain aspects of poker, like plo, hu nl, mtts, and even 6max nl, which is my bread and butter. I am however, qualified to talk about what it takes to succeed in poker over the years, in macro terms. As mentioned before, I've been playing poker professionally since '98 and have provided a good life for my family and myself over the years, w/ each passing year usually better than the previous one (pics of house below to show our standard of living, from our successes in poker).

Prev. link here for my story from '98 to '08 to those who haven't read it...


I'm touching on this subject because I've read a couple of instances of successful poker players calling it quits or thinking about it because they are either burned out, or just not winning like they used to. Here are two excerpts I've read about recently..


I've read about more instances on diff. poker forums and have seen the turnover of poker players over the years. This is a period of over 12 years. Obv. someone like Doyle Brunson can attest to how many pros and wanna be pros just never make it over the years more so than I can.

Nowadays I see a lot of aspiring poker players, thanks in large part to the poker boom during the mid years of this decade. The question will be how many will be around in 1, 2, 5, or 10 years? I can not estimate but there will be very successful poker players today that will call it quits eventually because the game will break them, as it has other successful players before. Or they may find other reasons to quit, eg boredom, lack of motivation, etc. It def. takes a certain type of mindset to make it in poker over numerous years, and this mindset is different than the actual mindset to beat poker on any given day or month, although there are similarities tied in between the mindsets, eg. emotional control and thinking about the long run.

I will discuss the mindset I am talking about to sustain a prolonged poker career (the mindset to beat the games in a short span is available everywhere, in the forms of videos, forums, coaching, etc.). I will point out times in my career to better illustrate this mindset. As mentioned in the post about my career, one must constantly strive to stay ahead of the curve in poker to be successful. To do so, one must always be aware of oneself and his/her abilities relative to the rest of the poker world. That's why you see a lot of break even and losing players question why they can't win. They are either not aware of their actual abilities, or overrate them....based on some of the 2+2 posts, sometimes overrate themselves immensely. This is why the very successful players state that awareness is one of the most important elements in being a successful poker player..eg Phil Galfond.

When I started out, I was humble enough to know that I needed to study the game in and out if I wanted to do well. I had success from the get go and just kept improving my game. Well, during the party poker years, my wife and I did very well and we both became a little complacent. When party poker closed shop to the US, we moved on to Stars and FTP. I continued to win at a good rate for a couple of years (I'm gonna leave my wife's story out for privacy reasons). I believe I was one of if not the biggest winner at $3-6 and $5-10 from Jan '08 to Aug '08 (somewhat thinly veiled brag) having cleared $400k during this timespan. During the latter part of this timespan, my winrate began dropping and I hit a 300k hand breakeven stretch over the next 4 months(next time you think you're in a bad stretch of hands over 20k, 50k, or whatever # of hands, try imagine being in one over 300k hands).

This was due to a couple of reasons. One was that I was actually running slightly bad, and probably the more impactful reason was that due to my complacency, I fell back to, or even behind the learning curve of winning poker players. I was not a member of any instructional site, nor did I participate in the poker forums. As you know, poker kept booming and young players were swallowing up all the info. on how to beat the games via videos, forums, books, and actual coaching. For the first time, I reached a point where the game was nearly passing me by. This sound familiar to the 2 examples I showed above?

For some players, this would be the reason why they would quit poker. They lose their drive and heart. They let their egos get the best of them and refuse to think they need to improve and revamp their games. They refuse to drop down in stakes. Eventually they are just another example of a poker player letting the game beat them down (granted, there are some successful pros that just leave to pursue different careers...Jason Strasser comes to mind).

For others, like myself, using the power of self awareness and observation, I rededicated to improve my game and come back stronger. I was somewhat burned out after the 300k hand stretch and played the fewest hrs I ever have in '09 (avg 13.5 hrs/wk) and even went through 3 months w/o having anything poker-related in my life. I guess in some ways this was good, as in that I came back fresh and motivated. It took a few more months to gradually get back in it full time. Along the way, I actually started to think about poker deeply, and began to watch videos, and read hhs and ensuing discussions in forums, and even hired a coach (albeit for 1 1hr session). I dropped down in stakes and stayed there for a few months while trying to improve my game immensely. By Dec. '09 I felt like my game was solidified to compete w/ the best of them and I set out goals for myself this year, armed w/ confidence and the knowledge that I was lacking in years past. Blogging was one of the ways that would keep me motivated and stay on this path to try to achieve my goals.

So far through nearly 2.5 months this year, I have played about 220k hands and have a winrate of close to 8bb/100 (4ptbb/100) while multitabling 8-14 tables at stakes ranging from $2-4 to $5-10. Granted I am running good this year (I did run below ev last year) and my actual winrate would prob. fall closer to about 7bb/100 if I ran at actual ev, but even so, most would agree this is a really good winrate at the stakes I play, esp. w/ the # of tables I play simultaneously (so far, a poor man's Nanonoko..but nothing poor about it really). As I mentioned before as well, I am planning on moving up as I continue to win and the year progresses.

So what do I attribute to my success over the years? Well, having the correct mindset as mentioned, which I believe I have is the vital factor of it all. This includes seeing everything for the long run, being emotionally stable, having the mental strength to withstand the long break even and losing stretches, the desire and motivation to get better always, the self awareness and honesty to know where you stand in the poker heirarchy, humbleness, discipline and tbh, some degree of intelligence (I may be missing an element or two, as I'm writing this in the wee hrs and am tired). Also management of your bankroll is essential to success, which is somewhat tied to one's mindset. If you are lacking in some of the aforementioned traits, you will prob. have a harder time being successful over the true long run and may become another instance of a poker player getting beat by the game of poker.

Ok, now that I got the serious part out of the way...here are pics of my house, thanks in all parts to my wife's and my successes in poker over the years....

In a golf course community, upgraded to the max, 4400sq feet, 3 car garage...


















Only showing my front door because of the security camera at upper left corner..there are security cameras at every entrance to my home, plus you'll need to go through a man guarded gate, then a security coded gate to get to my home, also there are security patrol cars driving around around the clock...also because I'm mainly an internet player, I don't have much cash lying around the house...my cash roll is spread around in security boxes in the casinos (in case there are some unscrupulous people out there w/ some dumb ideas)


















After you walk through front door...ding, spiral staircase...
















Kitchen...


















Living room...

















Office, but temporarily a makeshift band hero room for my kid and her friends...
















Dining room...

















Piano room...

















Loft, also my workstation, also video game room...
















Wife's workplace on 3rd floor...
















Master bedroom...

















Master bathroom...


















My kid's bedroom...

















Guest bedroom 1 of 2...52" plasma tv courtesy of FTP...

















Back of my house, overlooking hole #10...

















Rec center inc. full gym, indoor basketball and racquetball courts...5 min walk from my house...

















Community pool next to rec center...

















If this isn't balla, I don't know what is...our own community water park next to the community pool...free to all residents...

















Oh, and we own a 2400 sq ft 1 story house in Vegas that we rent out.

Have a nice day :)

6 comments:

  1. Nice home John!
    And very informative comments about mindsets of the players... though I am not yet there...
    been playing for about an year and a half and I still have to learn way toooooo much to say anything here.
    I guess I need to stick to BRM and not blow away my winnings trying to play 2/4 and 3/6.

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  2. Good post. Definitely some good motivational stuff and a great look into the psychology that goes with thinking about your own game. It makes me want to keep getting better and maybe some day get a similar house!

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  3. good post. i am in a similar situation myself, i played 10-20 in the glory days on party, and actually was playing 3-6,5-10, and 10-20 when they were the biggest games available. but i've been through a few periods of uncertainty, and flat our breakeven play.

    this year i'm 40bi under ev with a mediocre winrate (1.2~pt bb/100 in ev over 300k hands) and it's been so incredibly frustrating. i'm never found myself this challenged or uncertain about my future (don't have quite enough to retire, don't want to work a real job, in limbo)

    i'd be really appreciative if you could give some specific examples of what you looked at to get you back into the solid winner camp. for the first time ever, i started watching some videos on dc/leggo and i've tooled around with some HEM stuff, but anything you've done would be really cool to hear.

    from a guy with a similar name (Jon K),

    best of luck

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  4. Hey Jon, sorry to hear about your bad run this year. Sounds like your winrate would be solid if you just ran at actual ev.

    I'm gonna make a post about how I went about things to be where I am today...a more detailed one to answers the questions coming in about how I am able to beat today's games. Been getting some emails and questions regarding that so I'm gonna post my thoughts soon so I don't have to keep repeating myself.

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  5. Those photos are awesome. nh sir.

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